Jo-Ann Boepple: Looking at the history of the ArgusPublished 8:35am Friday, January 11, 2013
By Jo-Ann Boepple
Reflections of the Pas
Well it is a new year but I am not making any resolutions, predictions or other promises I can’t keep that are usually part of a new year. This is supposed to be a column about the past.
Since last year saw lots of changes in this newspaper and as I have expressed my opinion before about the demise of print on paper, I will move to talking about the history of the Argus.
Before I do, I need to make one comment about saving. Many of the artifacts that are given to the Edwardsburg Museum are newspaper clippings. They are very valuable and are needed, but this is a word or two of caution. If you are so inclined to clip things from the paper, please do continue, but be sure to date and write the name of the source somewhere on the clipping. The museum has so many clippings with no date and we aren’t sure where they came from. So what I am about to relate here is information contained in several newspaper clippings with no date or no source. I can only guess when they were written.
The publication of a newspaper in Edwardsburg was started by M. M. Edminston on Dec. 3, 1874 — 138 years ago. The Edwardsburg Index was its title and the first issue was printed in Mishawaka. It was printed until Sept. 25, 1875 when the owner suddenly disappeared. Then William Shaw became the publisher, renamed the paper The Argus and named H. B. Davis as editor. Soon it was sold to F. M. Jerome who formed a partnership with G. F. Bugbee in 1878. A year later, Dr. John Sweetland became the owner and publisher and he directed the paper for the next 20 years.
Henry Andrus had been the printer at the paper under Dr. Sweetland’s ownership and when Dr. Sweetland died, Henry Andrus became the owner in 1899.
For 24 years the paper suffered growing pains, but always lived up to the creed, “no excuse for wrong, no apology for evil; no compromise with sin; no license for crime, but complete and absolute prohibition of the liquor.” This was Dr. Sweetland’s creed. The paper was described as “neutral in politics and destitute of religion.”
In 1899, the National Democrat of Cassopolis said of Henry Andrus, “He has had the necessary experience to enable him to furnish his subscribers with a first class paper. It will be independent in everything.”
When Henry Andrus passed away in 1918, his two sons, George and Charles, who had been associated with the their father, took over publication of the paper. George then retired in 1953 and Charles along with his wife Lettia took over the complete operation. They also included their children Barbara and Dean who were paper folders and helped deliver the paper.
In 1959 Charles Andrus retired and sold the paper to brothers Victor and James Spaniolo. Don Foust (Dawn Bolock’s dad) became the editor and publisher. During that time the news was expanded to include county-wide interests and many more pictures were added.
In March of 1969, the Argus merged with the Cassopolis Vigilant and then both merged in 1970 with the Niles Daily Star and they all became the property of Leader Publications and were printed in Niles as they are today.
The Edwardsburg newspaper office closed on Dec. 31, 1974. The building can still be seen on US-12 and First Street. It is now an antique shop. It has seen most of the history of Edwardsburg come and go!
This past year, with a new editor it was changed in size to a tabloid and most of the local news is interspersed with news of the surrounding area.
During the era of the Andrus family it was strictly a local paper with local news of interest along with personals about the residents of the village. Lettie Andrus would call local people from the office for news. Ladies in the surrounding area would write news about the happenings in their neighborhoods.
It was definitely a social local weekly newspaper. It still survives after 138 years of continuous news reporting and is not as social or local as it once was.
(Editor’s Note: We are rerunning this article due to errors in the previous version including the omission of James Spaniolo as co-owner of the paper when it was sold by Charles Andrus. We regret the errors.)